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Recovery: Allen’s Story

Day to day operations at Guiding Light are slowly getting back to a new normal. Throughout the past several months our social programs have been operating through a sense of purpose in a state of uncertainty.

On March 27th our building at 255 Division Avenue was donated to and utilized by the Kent County Health Department for use as an Isolation Center. Those with suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19 were given a safe place to recover, while having their basic needs met, and provided much needed medical services.

The men staying at 255 in our Back to Work and Recovery programs were temporarily moved offsite to hotels or Iron House, our sober-living community in Kentwood. Now that the Kent County Health Department has left the facility, staff and clients have begun to return. Recently we have started to accept new intakes for admission into our Back to Work and Recovery programs.

Allen is one of the most recent men to have moved into 255 after being accepted into Guiding Light Recovery a few weeks ago. After living in active addiction for more then thirty-five years, Allen heard about the Recovery program while staying in a detox facility at Pine Rest in Grand Rapids. He saw a flyer for Guiding Light stating that 76% of the men that complete our four-month Recovery program, find work, and then move to Iron House achieve long-term sobriety. This caught his eye upon realization that there was no “quick fix” and that he needed something longer than a few days in a hospital or a detox.

For perspective, only 33% of men and women who attempt to get sober are able to maintain it for a year or longer.[i]

From Pine Rest, Allen made a phone call and was surprised when he got an answer on the other end right away. “I called and I actually got a hold of a human. Craig answered the phone and we talked and I asked if I would be a good fit and he said absolutely.”

Very few treatment facilities in Michigan are up and running like Guiding Light is right now, and even fewer are actively taking in new clients.

Allen has gone through many trials and tribulations in his life and says that “there is a reason I am still here.” He believes that God has a plan for him and that it is not a coincidence that he has found his way to Guiding Light.

[i] Dennis, M. L., Foss, M. A., & Scott, C. K. (2007). An eight-year perspective on the relationship between the duration of abstinence and other aspects of recovery. Evaluation review31(6), 585–612.


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